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English Grammar or Latin Grammar 1st

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    English Grammar or Latin Grammar 1st

    My words are inadequate to explain how thankful I am right now as I read your book! I am adoptive mother to 4 children. Our youngest is aged 3 (domestic adoption). Our first son is almost 7 (adopted from Russia in 2008 at age 20 months). We just adopted 2 older children from Latvia in 2013 (9 and 10 with delays...Likely FAS related). The oldest are coming along well with English though they have lags in vocabulary and 1 has receptive and expressive delays which she has likely struggled with in any language throughout her life. I'm wondering if you would recommend starting with Shurley English grammar first or Latin. They love music and the Shurley English grammar I think might be good to start with before starting Latin which I was hoping to do in the fall with at least my 6 year old whose command of English and abilities are higher than the older children. He does not show signs of FAS but has problems related more to impulsivity/emotional regulation but has from a young age been able to sit long time for readings and has even attended The Nutcracker since age 2 and has high expressive/receptive language.

    I'm hoping also to attend your sessions in Louisville this summer!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! It gives me such hope and confidence.

    God bless you,

    Heather
    Last edited by HeatherB; 03-07-2014, 10:10 AM.

    #2
    This is such a lovely note! Thank you, Heather.

    I do hope you attend the Memoria Press conference. If you come, we can delve more deeply into the unique needs of each of your children.

    For now … to help organize this answer:

    -You have four adopted children -- 3, almost 7, 9, & 10.

    -You hope to start Latin with your almost 7yo whose English skills already exceed those of the two older, more recently adopted children.

    -You wonder whether your older children, given their struggles with English, would benefit from English first or Latin first.

    As you can see from the enormous number of views to your post, yours is a common question! When the student has language delays or is learning English as a second language, the answer becomes even more complex. I have thought about this all day, while I tended to other matters. Thank you for your patience. (I still care for my special-needs twins at home, and as you know with four of your own, some days are longer than others!)


    A general rule is this:
    When the children know English phonics (e.g., sounds of the vowels a, e, i, o, u) and can read well, they can begin Latin.

    Your instinct to focus a little more heavily on English with the older two seems wise, given their very new arrival to an English-speaking country. Their grasp of English phonics will need to be strong. In Latin they will learn different pronunciations for a, e, i, o, u, and some consonants. They will need to know the English pronunciations firmly, before differences are introduced.

    However, they do not need a solid knowledge of English grammar to begin Latin. In fact, a good introductory Latin program will give them efficient, simultaneous teaching of both English and Latin grammar. (See The Latin-Centered Curriculum.) for a more in-depth explanation.

    Leigh Lowe provides an excellent example of this in Prima Latina. She teaches English nouns, verbs, prepositions, pronouns, and more, all alongside Latin.

    You could begin Prima Latina with your nearly 7yo this fall and possibly with your older two at the same time, if they can advance in English acquisition over the summer.

    Consider this:
    "Prima Latina is a perfect mix of English grammar and beginning Latin.... Each of the 25 lessons consists of a new grammar skill, five vocabulary words that correspond with the lesson, a practical Latin phrase, and one line of a prayer...."

    A bonus -- Latin boosts not only English grammar, but also English vocabulary. My own children love discovering English derivatives from a new Latin word. This practice, combined with excellent read-aloud literature, such as Dickens, will quickly and dramatically improve their English vocabulary.


    If you still want to boost English grammar separately, you have several options. One easy method would be to purchase ahead of time the Prima Latina book (or whichever Latin program you intend to use). Use the same brief English exercises now from the Latin program you will teach your younger son in the fall. When your older children are ready to study Latin, the English grammar components will be reviewed for them in a familiar format.

    If you have plenty of time, you could teach a separate grammar program. Consider Rod & Staff English, perhaps Level 2.

    For something simple, you could pull the easiest catechism-type questions from English Grammar Recitation. This little book can be useful for years.

    If you embark on Shurley English, which we loved years ago, there are some caveats. First, the program has changed somewhat. Second, it is rewarding but very teacher-intensive (you'll need an extra hour 3-5 times/week). This worked well, because I had only two children at the same level. In your homeschool, you might consider purchasing just the CD of grammar jingles, and this might be all you need. Another caveat is that the system of diagramming differs from conventional diagramming. This became a problem for me when I attempted to teach my son to diagram sentences in another program years later. At the time I taught Shurley, Prima Latina did not yet exist.

    If Prima would have been available, I would have taught this prior to our beginning Latina Christiana. I do wish I would have started Latin earlier with my children. (You can learn from my mistake!)


    Summary –
    When your older children can read well and know English phonics, you can begin with Prima Latina. They do not need strong English grammar knowledge before beginning Latin. If you want to boost the children's English phonics and vocabulary prior to teaching Latin, you might be better served by having your older children read good English books aloud and by reading upper-level literature to them. However, if you have plenty of time available and still want to pursue an entire English grammar course, several are available.

    I hope that helps.

    Btw, I love the image of your little one from Russia, nurtured by his American homeschool family, enraptured by the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky.

    Many blessings to you and those four children.

    Thanks again -

    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your thoughtful advice! I will read over it all and consider it when I'm a little more rested over the weekend. The children are just beginning readers (1st/2nd grade level reading) so that may impact what I choose? The 2 from Latvia definitely are a little less secure in phonics so far than our other younger son so that may influence my decision regarding Latin versus English grammar? hmmm...lots to think over!

      Heather
      Last edited by HeatherB; 03-07-2014, 10:24 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by cherylswope View Post

        A general rule is this:
        When the children know English phonics (e.g., sounds of the vowels a, e, i, o, u) and can read well, they can begin Latin.

        If you still want to boost English grammar separately, you have several options. One easy method would be to purchase ahead of time the Prima Latina book (or whichever Latin program you intend to use). Use the same brief English exercises now from the Latin program you will teach your younger son in the fall. When your older children are ready to study Latin, the English grammar components will be reviewed for them in a familiar format.

        For something simple, you could pull the easiest catechism-type questions from English Grammar Recitation. This little book can be useful for years.
        Thank you!!!!

        If I'm delaying Latin a bit, and not wanting to invest time and money and even thought into a separate English Grammar program, it never occurred to me to use the upcoming Latin book as the scope and sequence to introduce some English grammar. Or even if I'm not going to do Latin at all with one of the students, to use the Latin book to plan the bulk of their English grammar, so I am juggling fewer curricula.

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